"Although this is less than 20 percent of total refining capacity in the United States, the Gulf Coast region is a major supplier of refined products both locally, and into other parts of the country", Delaney said.
Contrary to analysts' bullish forecasts before Harvey arrived, the price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped almost three percent on Monday and settled at $46.57 - the worst daily performance since July 7. As a result, the discount for U.S. WTI versus Brent surpassed $5 a barrel, its widest in more than two years.
The Energy Information Administration reported a bigger-than-expected weekly drop in US crude supplies, but gasoline stockpiles were flat and traders expect next week's government report to reveal the impact of Hurricane Harvey-related crude production and refinery shutdowns.
Gasoline prices surged but crude oil prices were lower Monday morning as Hurricane Harvey continued to wreak havoc on Houston-area refining. That brings total capacity that's offline to 3 million barrels per day. The contract's peak was $1.7888, the highest for NYMEX gasoline since July 2015. Oil prices need a so-called Goldilocks number - one that's not so high that it stimulates robust production and not so low that it stymies the industry - and USA operators are reacting as the market remains stuck near the $50 per barrel level.
"They're not spiking as much as they would have had we not had the backdrop of plentiful inventories", said Smith, noting gasoline supplies sit at a five year high for this time of year.
Some refineries were preparing for restarts, but heavy rains were expected to last through Wednesday, adding to catastrophic flooding.
Brexit talks resume in Brussels
The EU wants to settle Britain's so-called Brexit divorce bill before talks begin on the new trade relationship with the UK.
USA economic growth hits 3% rate in second quarter
For the year a whole, I am now predicting real GDP growth of 2.2 percent, with 2.8 percent growth for the current third quarter. The result is a healthy upward revision from the government's initial estimate of 2.6 per cent growth in the second quarter.
Houston to open more mega-shelters to house flooded families
Some fear that may be more than the nation's fourth-largest city could bear. The US Gulf Coast has been battered by Hurricane Harvey since Saturday.
Harvey battered into Texas on Friday as a Category Four hurricane, tearing down homes and businesses on the Gulf Coast, and triggering massive floods.
More than 18 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement said.
The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data recorded an inventory draw of 5.4 million barrels for the week ending August 25th following a draw of 3.3 million barrels the previous week.
Crude markets were also eyeing disruptions in Libya and Colombia.
This has caused prices of both benchmarks to fluctuate higher and lower. Jefferies bank said it was lowering its fourth-quarter Brent oil price estimates to $55 a barrel from $60 and its 2018 forecast to $57 from $64.